Read This Before Buying Waters Corporation (NYSE:WAT) Shares

We often see insiders buying up shares in companies that perform well over the long term. The flip side of that is that there are more than a few examples of insiders dumping stock prior to a period of weak performance. So before you buy or sell Waters Corporation (NYSE:WAT), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.

What Is Insider Selling?

It’s quite normal to see company insiders, such as board members, trading in company stock, from time to time. However, most countries require that the company discloses such transactions to the market.

We don’t think shareholders should simply follow insider transactions. But logic dictates you should pay some attention to whether insiders are buying or selling shares. For example, a Harvard University study found that ‘insider purchases earn abnormal returns of more than 6% per year.’

Check out our latest analysis for Waters

Waters Insider Transactions Over The Last Year

Senior Advisor Eugene Cassis made the biggest insider sale in the last 12 months. That single transaction was for US$1.9m worth of shares at a price of US$205 each. So we know that an insider sold shares at around the present share price of US$177. They might be selling for a variety of reasons, but it’s hard to argue this is a bullish sign. We generally tread carefully if insiders have been selling on market, even if they sold slightly above the current price.

We note that in the last year insiders divested 16.44k shares for a total of US$3.3m. All up, insiders sold more shares in Waters than they bought, over the last year. The average sell price was around US$199. It’s not particularly great to see insiders were selling shares around current prices. While some insiders have decided to take some money off the table, we wouldn’t put too much weight on this fact. You can see the insider transactions over the last year depicted in the chart below. By clicking on the graph below, you can see the precise details of each insider transaction!

NYSE:WAT Insider Trading December 24th 18
NYSE:WAT Insider Trading December 24th 18

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Insiders at Waters Have Sold Stock Recently

Over the last three months, we’ve seen significant insider selling at Waters. In total, insiders dumped US$668k worth of shares in that time, and we didn’t record any purchases whatsoever. This may suggest that some insiders think that the shares are not cheap.

Does Waters Boast High Insider Ownership?

Looking at the total insider shareholdings in a company can help to inform your view of whether they are well aligned with common shareholders. Usually, the higher the insider ownership, the more likely it is that insiders will be incentivised to build the company for the long term. Waters insiders own about US$593m worth of shares (which is 4.4% of the company). Most shareholders would be happy to see this sort of insider ownership, since it suggests that management incentives are well aligned with other shareholders.

So What Do The Waters Insider Transactions Indicate?

Insiders sold stock recently, but they haven’t been buying. Looking to the last twelve months, our data doesn’t show any insider buying. While insiders do own a lot of shares in the company (which is good), our analysis of their transactions doesn’t make us feel confident about the company. If you are like me, you may want to think about whether this company will grow or shrink. Luckily, you can check this free report showing analyst forecasts for its future.

If you would prefer to check out another company — one with potentially superior financials — then do not miss this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity and low debt.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.